Fleet News

Audi A4 2.5 TDI quattro Sport - 6,937 miles



ALTHOUGH it is too early for a service on our A4 2.5 TDI, I have been intrigued by Audi's innovative Variable Service programme, which automatically adjusts the car's service interval depending on driving style.

Importantly, AVS is not an extended service interval but a totally variable system that monitors brake and lubricant states. It needs to be activated at acquisition time by the dealer and communicates to the driver through the car's information system mounted in the instrument binnacle.

Though the minimum service interval for all Audis is set at 9,000 miles, this can be extended to as much as 19,000 miles or two years for petrol engines or an impressive 30,000 miles or two years for four-cylinder TDI diesel units.

In the case of the V6 TDI, the interval can be pushed to as much as 22,000 miles or two years. When a service is required, a message is displayed on the computer 1800 miles before it is due.

Audi carried out a survey of its own staff vehicles and discovered the average mileage due to the next service of all AVS-activated cars was 18,508 for petrol models and 22,605 for diesels.

Interestingly, for identical A4s with and without AVS, the service cost saving was £174.39 over 60,000 miles for petrol models and a whopping £441.31 for diesels. A few minutes with a calculator reveals that, multiplied over even a modest fleet, those savings would mount up to significant cuts in maintenance budgets — almost £4,500 for a fleet of 10 A4 TDIs.

That's sobering reading, but does depend on adhering to AVS stipulations which involve using only specific AVS oil for topping-up between servicing.

Potentially, AVS means our A4 may not require a service until 22,000 miles — a remarkable thought as for many fleets this would equate to over a year's motoring free of service cost.

With almost 7,000 miles now on the clock, things couldn't be smoother with our car. I've been keeping a careful check on fuel consumption and can report a healthy improvement since the last update. On average, we are achieving an excellent 38mpg, which considerably betters the official combined figure of 35.8mpg and is about 3mpg more than the best we have seen so far. What's more, that figure has been achieved with an increasingly enthusiastic right foot now that the engine has loosened up fully.

Strengthened by its CAP Monitor residual value prediction of £10,400 or 42% of cost new over three years/60,000 miles, the new A4 has reeled in its rivals with looks, build and driver appeal that knock on the door of the best of the opposition.

In fact, compare this Audi's residual value prediction with that of the BMW 330d Sport's £11,425/40% or the Mercedes-Benz C270 CDI Avantgarde's 11,325/42% and it's clear this A4 is no longer a 'poor relation' in the class.

And that's a message made even more convincing when CAP pence per mile running cost figures are involved: try the Audi's 36.0ppm against the Mercedes' 36.2ppm and the BMW's 38.5ppm.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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